Definition of melanism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmeləˌnizəm/


chiefly Zoology
Unusual darkening of body tissues caused by excessive production of melanin, especially as a form of color variation in animals.
Example sentences
  • Adaptations to short, cool summers include activity at low temperatures, selection of warm habitats and microhabitats, melanism and hairiness coupled with basking behaviour, and prolonged or abbreviated life cycles.
  • However, melanism and amelanism are known to occur in many species of natricine snakes.
  • That pattern of morphological convergence includes larger bills, reduced rust coloration in plumage, and increased melanism or dark coloration.



Pronunciation: /məˈlanik/
Example sentences
  • There may still be very good mechanistic reasons why melanic plumage color reveals individual quality in European barn swallows, but they should have nothing to do with carotenoid signaling.
  • We suggest that, in addition to its other functions, an important selective advantage of melanic plumage is its resistance to degradation by bacteria that are part of every bird's environment.
  • The majority of studies on melanin ornaments cited in Table 1 measured only the size of discrete patches of melanic feathers.


Pronunciation: /ˌmeləˈnistik/
Example sentences
  • Additionally, 15 males and 16 females had particular plumage features that allowed individual identification (double black bar on wing, melanistic or dark plumage, advanced moult, broken feathers, first-year birds).
  • Two-thirds of the sightings involved large black animals resembling melanistic leopards, also known as panthers.
  • Such is the case with melanistic (black pigmentation) variation in some anenomefish species.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mel·a·nism

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